May 7, 2016 St. Louis Nostalgia Rendevous

It was with great anticipation that we headed out to the beautiful Gateway Motor Sports Park in Madison, Illionois. This was our first race of the year in what is stacking up to be a very full and exciting season.

We arrived around 2:30 PM and most of the other racers were already there including Bryan and June Huffman, Randy Tavoletii, Bob Mitchel, Jack Kaylor, Mark Cambell, Rob Rothweiler, Rod Urish, Ken Kapper, Bob Brown, & Jesse James.  Rounding our numbers to twelve, we welcomed two new members. Ed Miller driving a nice 55 Chevy and Mark Dulle driving a wheel standing 64 Nova. These two gentlemen are a great addition to our group and very welcome.

We were scheduled to make two test & tune runs Friday evening. Jack Kaylors Rumblin Rambler had a small water issue that was a quick fix and Rod Urish’s beautiful Anglia had a small oil discharge from a pan gasket that was also easily fixed. Anything else that happened in the group were just small adjustments. Thus, the purpose of test & tunes, to get the bugs out of the first runs of the season.

The weather was beautiful when we arrived and a few of us sat in the evening air enjoying each others company.

Saturday morning through noon brought more great weather with a possibility of rain toward evening. The Gassers were scheduled to make two passes. One early afternoon and one late afternoon. We were called to staging about 1:00 PM and were told they wanted to start our group with a flagman. Yup, a “Flagman”. How fun does that sound?  The track had arranged for Jim Lockabee to add more nostalgia to our group with and old style start. Jim was one of the original Flagmen at the old St. Louis drag strip and was a true professional. I think most of our group had never been started with flags. They each had to stage as normal, lighting both staging bulbs and then react from the green flag.  They all did well, enjoyed the change of starting, and not one got to experience the wrath of the” red” flag. It was great to meet Mr. Lockabee and have a chance to chat with him. He has done many things throughout his 84 years including coming in 4th in the state of Nevada for their “Fast Draw” competition.

After our first pass, we put our chefs to work. Mark Cambell grilled brats and hotdogs and Bob Mitchel did his famous grilled veggies. Everyone else brought the rest of the fixins to make for yet another of our fabulous pot lucks.

The sky was offering some pretty dark clouds as we finished so we cleaned up and prepared for the storm. Just before it started to rain, we were told that our last pass had been cancelled. It is amazing how fast the group can load up.  Lots of practice I guess.

It was a great weekend.  Looking forward to the next.

Bertie James

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